Alternative building with confidence

You want to know that what you build is safe and healthy, whether or not you need to secure a building permit in tough places like California.  If you’re new to straw bales, adobe, fly ash, SIP’s, and other alternative systems, let me help your team with experienced engineering perspective.

Most building professionals are only familiar with the “conventional” materials presented in the building codes. I have studied both historic and innovative building systems from all over the globe, and have direct experience engineering and building with just about every “alternative” system that’s out there—as well as all the mainstream ones.  I can help you select and work with the systems best suited to your project, such as:

  • Fly ash, slag, rice hull ash and other pozzolanic concretes
  • Insulating Concrete Forms (“ICF’s”)
  • Structural Insulating Panels (“SIP’s”)
  • Straw bales, straw clay, and straw products like panels and blocks
  • Adobe, earth tires, earth bags and tubes, cob, compressed earth block and rammed earth
  • Lime and earthen plasters
  • Papercrete (and all “–crete” systems that basically mix stuff with cement)
  • Bamboo framing and products
  • Shipping containers, concrete rubble, plastic bottles, tires and other industrial by-products in construction — Harvest urban ore!

Let me engage your project early to save you and your clients money and trouble.

Material selection should follow, not precede, good design. No one material is right for every job, nor does the use of any particular material make the project “green”. Designers and clients often come to me wanting to build a straw bale or adobe or SIP building, or use some other system in which they’ve become interested. That can be a mistake, whether you want to go green or not, because material selection should be an offshoot of design — not vice versa. Figure out climate, sun, wind, soil, topography, budget and building use, then design for energy and financial efficiency.

I can help you and your clients make this process relatively easy, which can save both time and money — especially if I can help at the beginning of design.

And I am ready and able to assist owners, NGO’s and design professionals — builders, architects and engineers — who wish to define a more ecologically friendly palette of materials for their project, and to find the best design that produces safe, clean and durable structures.